So last night I wrote a post…

10 year old Red Fleece Vest

And when I published, it all went “Poof!”  Let’s reconstruct, shall we?

I was telling you about this old red vest and a new one I made, my Butterick 5957 fleece vest.

This old red vest has stood the test of time and is quite the workhorse in my cool-season wardrobe. I also still wear a corduroy version. They are some of the few things still in my closet drafted with PMB. I’m really not surprised that garments created with Patternmaster are still around. I designed them, drafted them, and not surprisingly, they fit just right.

I know why I stopped using Patternmaster, but I’m not sorry I spent the time on it. Too bad I didn’t keep some of the old patterns I made.

Anyway… when I decided that the red fleece vest had to be replaced, I wanted a similar pattern but couldn’t find one with the same front and back yokes and princess seam shaping.  Butterick 5957 seemed close enough in style, plus it had pockets and a collar.  The collar is really tall, and if I didn’t have the longest neck of anyone I know, I’d shorten or eliminate it. It’s also fully lined–a good thing outdoors, though I may find myself stripping it off indoors.

I found a (bizarre, I soon discovered) fleece in “my” colors and set to work.  The fleece has beautiful splotches of color with a horizontal pattern.  What I didn’t realize was that the splotches didn’t repeat regularly, making it impossible to match them on the vest.  I was able to match the pattern, so the finished vest looks much better than I feared it would.

Butterick B5957 Front

Butterick B5957 Side Front

Butterick B5957 Side Back

Having Brunhilde around allowed me to get the fit very close to perfect–almost as good as my PMB version.  I started by shortening it 1 inch above the waist, and raising the back neckline 1/4 inch.  When it was partially sewn together, I found that the back from waist to shoulder was too wide for me.  I altered the pattern and recut the back piece, achieving a wonderful fit back there.

The only remaining fit issue is a bit of armhole gaposis in front.  I’ve narrowed the side piece at the armhole to fix that for next time.

The pattern tries hard to give you a vest that doesn’t show the lining at all.   They provide armhole facings and construct the pocket so that you see only your outer fabric.  My lining is a nice match for the fabric, so I dispensed with all that and lined it to the edge.  I also changed the sewing order to eliminate all hand sewing.

All hand sewing.

There are few sewing tasks I dislike more than slip-stitching polyester lining.  Just say “No.”


Late to the party! TSW eShrug

Most bloggers I follow made The Sewing Workshop’s eShrug when it came out a few years ago. I admired it, of course, but was still working on whatever came out 3 or 4 years prior to that.

I tend to be a little slow embracing new trends…sigh…

FF to last fall when I found a bit over a yard of this floaty woven acrylic(?) on sale at JoAnn’s.  It was love at first sight and I knew it would make a great little vest or wrap or something. No concrete plans, but I kept it close by.  I happened to hang my new brown skirt next to it and saw the magic happen!

But what should it be?

Happily I remembered the eShrug and searched the galleries for ideas.  Most folks had either sewn the short sleeved version, or drafted long sleeves.  But there were a few who made vests.

I love a good vest!

eShrug Front

Despite the pattern being designed for knits, my light and drapey woven was perfect.  I’m not so sure it would have worked as well had I installed the sleeves, but who can say?  All I know is that it made a fine vest.

The sizing was a little off, as usual.  Knowing I usually take an X-small in TSW patterns regardless of what my measurements would indicate, I chose the smallest size.  I had to scoop out the front armhole, so I’ll sew the next size up should I ever want a sleeved version.  In that size, I’ll probably shave off some of the front “lapel” but that will be no problem.

eShrug Back

For an edge finish, I straight-stitched completely around the perimeter and fringed the edges. On the bias edges with all the threads going every which-way, I trimmed whatever fringe I achieved down to 1/2″ to match the straight bits.  On the armholes, I turned the fabric under and coverstitched.

This works wonderfully in my wardrobe, and I’m wearing it now with a pair of Simplicity 1918s and an Old N@vy tee.  It’s just warm enough!

Hit and run…

Project: Anorak vest
Pattern: Simplicity 2153, View F
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Water resistant mystery fabric from stash

James 1:2-3 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

I’m a really joyous girl these days and reaping perseverance by leaps and bounds!

The house is on the market and cleaner than it has been in years.  I had gall bladder surgery last Wednesday, and the knee surgeon wants me to have a knee replacement ASAP. He does not, repeat, DOES NOT want me to wait until we move.


I’ve been sewing.

Funny how leaving a project to rest in it’s box for weeks makes you forget what you had planned to do.  Funny how you somehow end up with the wrong collar on it when you’re done.


Funny how you like the thing anyway!


May the vest sewing commence

Project: Anorak vest
Pattern: Simplicity 2153, View F
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Mystery fabric from stash


The supplies have all been gathered. The fabric has been cut.   The machines are threaded.  The new vest will look something like this:

I seem to remember that the fabric came from a clearance sale at The Sewing Studio last winter. I cannot recall any details, but I think I planned to make some sort of anti-rain garment from it.  I can’t imagine what I was hoping to sew with a yard and a half of the stuff.

Water resistant

I can’t imagine what circumstances might benefit from a water resistant vest, but you never know!  If a need arises, I’ll stay nice and dry.  ;-)

After reading through the reviews at, I decided to upscale my vest a bit by adding metal eyelets.  The stash turned up some nice 1/4″ antique brass ones complete with an applicator and instructions!

Love that.

Practice rivet

The pockets look really cute so far.  They are very similar to the pockets on my Ottobre Ms Marple coat. When I sew them on, they’ll gather along the top just like the Ottobre pockets.  I want some sort of tips to go on the ends of the drawstrings–I’m sure there’s something in the bead stash that will work.


So far so good!

Project #53: Faux Fur Vest

Project: Faux Fur Vest
Pattern: Modified Simplicity 2285
Size: 14 altered
Fabric:  Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown from Fabric dot com lined with black bemberg

The vest was a lot of fun to make *and* to wear!  For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, I actually had my challenge project done well before the due date.

Those of you who keep up with fashion and pass along tidbits to the rest of us, informed me that fur was *in* this season.  Thank you.

I searched around various retail websites and found several inspiration vests that I liked.  One was this one, which came from, I believe:

Inspiration Photo 2

and this one which came from the same website and is part of a child’s outfit:

Inspiration photo 1

So.  My preferred vest features appear to be cheetah, center front separating zipper,  and high collar. First things first, I started looking for cheetah fur yardage and found…

nothing. had some nice faux furs, so I chose their Faux Fur Snow Lynx White/Brown. It had sort of a striped pattern to it.

Next (after ordering only one yard of the $$ not-on-sale fur)  I started looking for a pattern and found…


The closest pattern was (also not-on-saleSimplicity 2285, which had the collar and the general shape I liked but no zipper.  I found some vest patterns with princess seams plus a zipper, but I didn’t want to cut the fur that much.  Think about it–fur, seams, stripes.


The Simplicity pattern artwork looked better than it actually was.  (You are no doubt surprised by that revelation.)  In reality, it was a long box with the only shaping provided by the tie belt.  That might be fine for someone besides me–you know, somebody tall and thin.

I look better in a short, shapely pattern.

In the end, I shortened the thing three inches and added some shaping in the form of a bust dart and curved side seams. I considered putting in waist darts and decided I just couldn’t stand to deal with more seaming in the stuff.  Adding the zipper was enough of a pile-trimming nightmare.

(Once the trash went out, however, I didn’t lose anymore sleep over that issue.)

The belt is from some dark brown faux reptile knit that I had in my stash closet.

Now that it’s done, I love it:


You can see the shadow of the dart, but I don’t think it detracts from the vest’s appearance. Quite the contrary, in fact, considering what a box looks like on me.


When I laid out the pattern, I was careful to align the darker stripe with the center front and back.  The stripes were a good width for the vest, I think.


And of course, I used every fur tip I could recall:

  • draw the pattern onto the back of the fabric, rather than pinning
  • snip around the pattern with the tips of my scissors, being careful to avoid cutting the pile
  • trim the pile from the seam allowances before and/or after sewing
  • pick the pile out of the seams with a pin after the seams were sewn

The only photo of me wearing it is this group shot from the meeting on Saturday.  We had seven ladies to participate in the vest challenge–one of them left before I remembered to get a photo.  I wore it with my new McCall’s 6355 dress and my brown suede boots.

Sew Classic Vest challenge

I had so much fun with it, that I’m toying with the idea of making some other faux fur garment before you inform me that it is passé